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Public Right of Way (PROW) Program

Through the public Right-of-Way enhancement program, merchants with ground-level storefronts in the twelve Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) will now be able to use the sidewalks in front of their businesses to place A-frame signs, limited displays of merchandise, and outdoor cafes without railings. The Public Right of Way Enhancement/Use Program (PROW) is a program designed to provide a lively experience for pedestrians and diners and give merchants more leeway to expand their businesses and enhance their income.

During a public hearing in March 2006 the City of San Diego Planning Commission unanimously approved the program. One significant issue that the adopted program addressed is the disabled community's concern that encroachment onto the sidewalk is dangerous for them. The San Diego's Sub-Committee for Reducing Architectural Barriers (SCRAB), the watchdog for the disabled community, unanimously approved and supports the new pilot program because special attention in drafting the program was given to the needs of the disabled.

PROW is governed by a 24-page booklet that contains display guidelines and technical illustrations. For more information see the PROW Program (PDF). Merchants who follow the required regulations will not have to obtain a sidewalk cafe or other discretionary permit. The program will be administered by the Business Improvement Districts (BID) for a modest fee and will be enforced by the City's Code Compliance Department.

An application for permission to use the sidewalk must be submitted to the BID and have their approval. A scale drawing of the proposed use should be submitted with the application. Businesses need to provide evidence of one million dollars of liability insurance naming the City and others as additional insured. Participating merchants will also need to attend a free training demonstration to learn how to comply with the regulations.